Reflections on Day One of a Digital Writing Project

In the few moments that I have before beginning the second day of the Chippewa River Writing Project summer institute, I wanted to pause to reflect on what happened in day one as it relates to digital writing. We were able to get up and running with very little trouble in way of having people use their own laptops, connecting to the network, navigating the wiki, and begin posting discussion items and making page changes.

As we continue on today, we are going to introduce Google Docs as a means for creating collaborative responses, begin looking at the tools for creating digital stories, and also continue use of the wiki for posting teaching demonstration materials and continuing with online discussions.

My overall impression of participants’ thoughts on all of this is that they are quite comfortable with the technologies, as we have introduced them slowly and purposefully. As we continue working with digital storytelling this week, I want to allow for plenty of play time that is framed by discussions about how and why we (and our students) should compose in digital environments. To me, the play time in these early stages is the most important part, so along with discussions about the writing process and writing pedagogy, I am hoping that people just feel the freedom to play and explore in this first week of the institute.

One thing that we have to figure out is how we plan to sustain our site’s work after the institute. I know that this is a topic of great consideration at many rural sites, and it will be no different here. I have been thinking about the affordances and constraints of setting up a Ning, a Facebook group, a Google group (list serv), or some combination of all of them. I don’t want to be spread across too many digital spaces, but I am not sure that our wiki will serve that purpose for keeping everyone connected in an immediate manner. There was talk of Twitter yesterday, too, but again I am not sure that is the best way for us to stay in touch as a local network. Any ideas are welcome!

Time to get moving into day two. My goal is to post more regularly as we move through the next four weeks, talking about the successes and surprises of working in a digital writing project.

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